Radar Radio’s most recent company accounts – detailing its financials for the period ended April 28, 2017 – reveal that the station had continued to slide into debt before it suspended broadcasting in April of this year.
Ollie Ashley, the son of billionaire Mike Ashley, is named as the sole director on the company’s accounts. The station’s connection with the controversial businessman has been considered something of an open secret in industry circles, though not necessarily widely known to former listeners of the station.
The balance sheet shows that Radar owes more than £4m to its creditors, with the sum falling due within a year of the period ended April 2017. The bulk of this debt (around £3.6m) is owed to MASH Holdings Limited, which is Radar’s parent company and also the entity through which Ashley Snr. controls his stakes in Sports Direct and Newcastle United. More than £400,000 is due to trade creditors – the term given to suppliers of business goods or services who haven’t yet been paid. This represents a significant increase in expenditure since the previous accounting period, for which only £7,287 was owed to trade creditors.
MASH Holdings has again stated its intention to support Radar financially for at least another 12 months. MASH Holdings’ accounts for the same period were due by the July 23, 2018, but at the time of writing no update has been filed with Companies House.
The online station has been silent since accusations of sexual harassment and cultural exploitation sparked a mass exodus of DJs, presenters, and producers. Ollie Ashley has himself remained silent too, and is yet to respond to requests for comment – either regarding his company’s financials, or the arguably more pressing concern of staff mistreatment.
The filing also includes an estimated cost for the redundancy of all staff (£270,000), and for professional fees related to the decision to cease broadcasting operations (£230,000). However, since the decision to suspend broadcasting was made almost a year after the period end date of the company’s accounts, no provision for any actual costs of the station’s shuttering are included in the filing.
Reaction to the news has been mixed, with some online commentators begging the question of how well such considerable amounts of money had been spent – particularly given that the vast majority of contributors to the station went unpaid (the filing states that the station had an average of just 16 paid employees on its books). Others, meanwhile, have continued to mourn the loss of what they viewed as an organisation that filled the gap left by the government’s withdrawal of funding for many youth centres in the capital.
There’s little to indicate what happens next for Radar in the filing, however, as it states that Ollie Ashley is yet to confirm what the future plans are for the company. Either way, pressure continues to build on him to answer more fully the questions about his running of the station that have arisen over the course of this year.
Will Pritchard is a freelance journalist, follow him on Twitter